Joe Louis Walker, a self-described kid from the projects, characterizes his life as a journey “from the outhouse to the White House.” As a young teenager Walker was chosen by Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, the guitarist for the Grateful Dead, to be the guitarist at the Matrix club in San Francisco, where he had the opportunity to play with countless legendary blues artists. At the age of eighteen, Walker lived in San Francisco with former Chicago musician Michael Bloomfield. When other native Chicagoans came to town, they would often stay with Bloomfield which gave Walker the chance to meet blues legends like Carey Bell and James Cotton. Walker has recorded dozens of albums, played thousands of shows, and become a blues great in his own right.
Still frame from Pryor Center video interview with Joe Louis Walker at Bubba's Blues Corner; Helena, Arkansas, 2017
© Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, University of Arkansas